School timetables work for so few people, yet it's only a few daring souls that seem to be prepared to change them. A new piece of research adds to the evidence that more flexibility is required to make the most of the latent creativity in our learners and teachers.
At NoTosh we're working with several schools on reshaping their school timetables to create space for teachers and students to conference, one-on-one, on how the day and/or week will look for each student, personalising content and the way learning will be undertaken. We've also been taken with trying to map the energy levels of students and staff to better shape the overall day, discovering, for example, in one school that no-one was fit for learning well first thing on a Monday (quelle surprise), and suggesting we should start and end the day later.
Last night, via Mike Press, I found a new piece of research showing a counterintuitive effect of energy on creativity: the less fresh you are the better it is for your ability to think and act creatively:
"...Tasks involving creativity might benefit from a nonoptimal time of day.” What this means in everyday language is that morning people should try to solve problems requiring creative thought in the late afternoon, and evening people should undertake them in the morning.
So, where an entire school is fatigued first thing on a Monday is where people should be engaged in creative problem-finding projects, perhaps, rather than in learning the core content elements that might act as a foundation for some project work.
This is counterintuitive to many who believe that when we're fresh and full of energy we should invest our efforts in our "best" work - if you want to approach it creatively, it might be best to approach it when you're feeling less than your best.